Rapid Reviews: the weird and the wonderful

This week’s selection of criminal encounters goes beyond the usual police procedurals to uncover murder in the desert and monsters on the movie lot; eugenics in tomorrow’s world and courtroom dramas from yesteryear, and an assassin who kills for kindness… THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael ConnellyIt may be a touch long in the tooth –…

Timberwolf: through a glass, darkly

This is a beast of a book. A substantial, meticulously crafted alternate reality, populated with a fully-fledged society and acres of exhaustive backstory. Think American Gods meets Bernie Gunther with overtones of Orwell, a collision between myriad strands of mythology and the hard-bitten cynicism of an under-dog who struggles to survive the grinding oppression of…

Dead Reckoning: ugly things, beautifully written

Steel yourself for sixteen stories from the dark side; sinister slivers of broken and bloodied lives which blur genre boundaries to form a distinctly unsettling compendium. Several are bite-size rapid reads, others explore human frailty at greater length. They’re all united by the author’s distinctive voice which is unconventional and often complex. Dino Parenti crafts…

Contraception: death by parenthood

This speculative thriller is set 50 years away, in a world of ‘what if?’, when the global population has reached catastrophic proportions. Out of endless war and revolutions arose a new universal policy, one which brings out the worst in people so they can create a better world. When Li Hu and his wife want…

Crime Time: new books and ripping reads

If it’s too hot to do anything apart from flake out with a good book then at least you’ve got plenty of excellent crime thrillers and murder mysteries to choose from. Here’s our rapid round-up of the most intriguing new releases from indie authors and big-name bestsellers – including gritty Britcrime, police procedurals, international intrigue,…

Purple Kitty: far from cute n cuddly

Purple Kitty’s title sorta suggests cuddly, fluffy, giggle a minute, girl’s night in, pink pyjamas, comedy crime*. That couldn’t be further from the reality of this dystopian private eye investigation, set in an oppressive future a few decades down the line. Gumshoe Serena McKay isn’t your typical ‘strong female protagonist’, either. Normally, the average crime-solving…

Other Worlds: sci-fi, fantasy and supernatural titles

From urban fantasy to space-opera via fantasy quests, dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie romps, alternate history, warlocks, prophets, sword-n-sorcery, robots, telepaths and creatures of myth and mystery [phew], here are eighteen inspired titles from indie authors, new writers and a couple of old favourites to add to your to-read list… BEST LEFT IN THE SHADOWS by Mark Gelineau…

An Android Awakes: a new ghost in an old shell

In this possible future, an android spins a series of interlinked stories in which mockingbirds are rarely killed, and locusts pick over the bones of what was once humanity’s space-faring destiny. This substantial softback is neither a normal text-only novel, nor a comic-book style graphic novel. It’s a blend of both, where Karl Brown’s crisp…

The Song Of The Jubilee: a cascade of discordant colour

Dazzling. That’s the best word to describe this introduction to an extensive dystopian sci-fi saga. The first book in a series of five, ‘Jubilee’ sets the scene and themes in a complex, carefully crafted future history. It’s a world of contradictions and contrasts, saturated in vibrant technicolour throughout. The author uses a glittering palette to…

Luna: new moon; same human story

This sprawling family saga began brilliantly, with an immense, imaginative introduction to the near future, and the corporate colony on the Moon. It’s a coherent, cohesive future history, told through the development of one family which started with a single engineer. She travelled to the Moon to escape desperate poverty on Earth, saw an opportunity…